Countries are looking for fossil fuel alternatives that can get somewhere near the density of gasoline but with less impact on the global ecosystem. Among the most promising contenders for mainstream alternative energy production, especially on alternative science media sites like Science 2.0, is hydrogen – but that increasingly appears to be an unlikely candidate.
Low energy conversion efficiency weakens the case for hydrogen as a commercial fuel. Hydrogen requires one-too-many conversions to be as efficient as electricity (water to hydrogen to electricity), as opposed to a simple fuel to electricity conversion.
As battery technologies improve in quality and decrease in price, the viability of hydrogen as an energy carrier falls further. It would be both easier and cheaper to store energy as electricity in a battery than hydrogen in a compressed tank.
"The process to extract hydrogen from water – electrolysis – is a net-loss equation that consumes more energy than the hydrogen it extracts can generate," said Frost&Sullivan Energy & Environmental Research Analyst Pramod Dibble. "It is very difficult to store hydrogen, as it leaks out from almost any containment vessel. Although compressed hydrogen leaks much less than at atmospheric pressure, the act of compression requires about 2 percent of the usable energy in the hydrogen, which is already less by volume than fossil fuel sources.
"All these reasons together constrain the use of hydrogen to niche applications such as a liquid in rocket fuel. Unless there is a dramatic scientific breakthrough, hydrogen will remain an ill-suited alternative energy source in the 21st century."
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- The Plot Of The Week: CMS Search For Majorana Neutrinos
- Planet With Rings Found Outside Solar System - And They Are Bigger Than Saturn
- Happy 150th Birthday To Maxwell's Theory Of Electromagnetism
- Football Physics: The Science Of Deflategate
- Reviews In Physics - A New Journal
- Think Mosquitoes Bite You More Than Other People? Here's Why You May Be Right
- We're Playing Classical Music All Wrong
- "Hi Tommaso, where do you see the biggest advantage of this new review journal wrt. the various..."
- "Catholics started out in stadiums, it did not go well. It was worse for the lions though..."
- "“Well, I’m dashed! We were right that time — goody goody!”Detail from this Giles..."
- "The binary argument is nitpicking - the modern sociological contention is that gender is a social..."
- "Ah yes, I see how frequently the term 'old fashioned' is equated to 'wrong'. To the extent that..."
- You won't tell your manager about your mental health problem, but you'll help a coworker who does
- Gigantic ring system around J1407b much larger, heavier than Saturn's
- Brain study sheds light on how children with autism process social play
- Not just language: Cochlear implant users can hear and feel the beat in music too
- The weather forecast for today is partly wrong with a chance of being right